Even with the advent of online shopping, malls and brick-and-mortar shops will never completely disappear. And why is that? It's because people will always want to go shopping in physical stores.

Although online shopping can allow people to accomplish the same tasks from the convenience and comfort of their own homes, couches and offices, there is something about going to the store that people just can't get from opening up their laptops and powering up their PCs.

What if you run an online store? There are many pluses to having an e-commerce business. You are reducing your overhead costs by not having to pay for a storefront, you don't have to pay for as many staff, and you're likely better stocked than a lot of your competitors because let's face it -- you are operating out of a warehouse.

How can you get those shoppers who love the tangibility of brick-and-mortar stores to come to you? The good news is that it is possible. Here are some ways to bring the customer-experience level of in-store shopping to your e-commerce website.

Brush up on your social media

People like shopping in brick-and-mortar stores because they like interacting with other people. They like to hear people talk about an item that they are considering buying and want to see the item in action. Give them that same experience by having an active presence on social media. Create a dialogue between you and your customers.

Make your customers feel appreciated

One thing that your online business can't do as well as a physical store is show genuine appreciation as well as a sales associate or a customer-service representative. Be sure to have your system send a thank you email along with a confirmation of purchase, and if possible, include a hand-written note to go inside the delivery box.

Give them personal service

Some people not only like social interaction when they shop, they like a personal experience. While online shopping can sometimes seem impersonal, there are ways to improve on that. Greet returning online customers by their first names and keep a record of things they have purchased. Have your system suggest things that they might like based on their past purchases and allow them to personalize their home pages.

Give them an incentive to shop online

Have online-only bonuses and gifts with purchase, or a frequent buyer rewards system so that people are encouraged to buy online.

Respond as quickly as possible to concerns

When people are in the store, they can have their questions answered right away. But when you are online only, it can take some time to get back to people. Have numerous ways that people can contact you -- phone, email, chat, social media -- and get back to them as soon as possible.

Published on: Nov 22, 2016
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